An Expert’s Guide To Body Brushing

Combining both a thorough exfoliation and a deep massage, dry body brushing is an age-old technique originating from Ayurvedic medicine. From lymphatic drainage to minimising the appearance of cellulite, here two skincare experts explain why a daily scrub can be so effective…
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The Benefits Are Abundant

“Body brushing is an often-neglected step in people’s routines, yet it’s also one of those incredibly simple things that carries huge benefits,” says skincare expert and founder of Legology Kate Shapland. “It’s the one beauty treatment that reaps real rewards with minimal input.” If dry body brushing isn’t part of your routine, there are plenty of reasons why it should be. “Body brushing not only promotes healthy and glowing skin, but it also aids the lymphatic drainage process,” adds Flavia Morellato, body and lymphatic drainage expert. “It encourages healthy lymph flow and boosts circulation throughout the body, helping the body to detoxify naturally – remember your skin is the largest organ in the body. Boosting lymph flow is also essential to immune function. If the lymphatic system is blocked, it can lead to a build-up of toxins, which can cause inflammation and illness.” It can also be incredibly mindful, says Flavia. “Body brushing balances the nervous system, reducing stress. Taking five minutes every day to body brush in a meditative way using your breath can help you feel more grounded, too.”

Doing It Regularly Can Help With Cellulite

Experts agree that body brushing can improve the appearance of cellulite – the brushing action helps distribute fatty deposits more evenly, so the dreaded orange peel effect is less visible. “Body brushing is a fantastic way to deal with cellulite,” Kate enthuses. “It stimulates the lymph to move and metabolise trapped fluid and toxins that contribute to cellulite by building up around fat cells, pushing them out of line and making the skin look bumpy. Cellulite is not a fat issue, it’s all about good lymph flow, which is why cellulite can be random – you can be fit and slim but still have cellulite as it’s down to the efficiency of your lymph.” 

The Time Commitment Is Minimal

Three to five minutes is all you need, Flavia tells us. “You can body brush at any time of the day, but ideally always before bathing. By brushing first thing in the morning, it will give you an energy boost for the day ahead, but if you do it in the evening, you can make it a relaxing treatment using gentler, more methodical strokes. If you’re a beginner, start by doing it three times per week, working up to doing it daily. To achieve visible results, stick with it for two weeks – you won’t look back.”

There Is A Right Way To Do It

It’s all in the way you use the brush, says Kate, who recommends brushing with quick flicks in an upwards direction: “Imagine you are dusting your skin with the bristles,” she advises. Start by brushing your tummy, Flavia adds, moving in a clockwise direction, which will stimulate your thoracic duct and pelvic lymph nodes. “Then move onto your legs, moving in long, upwards sweeping motions towards your heart. Use firm, small strokes, several times in each area. Don’t forget the soles of your feet, which have lots of nerve endings that need to be stimulated. When it comes to the arms, brush upwards towards your armpits as there are many lymph nodes near the armpits – this will get toxins and stagnant energy moving. Then brush upwards from your bum and lower back. Use light pressure on areas where the skin is softer – such as your chest, breasts and stomach – and greater pressure on harder areas. Your skin may appear pinkish in colour at first but don’t be alarmed – this is a sign of increased circulation.”

Body brushing is the one beauty treatment that reaps real rewards with minimal input – it exfoliates, strengthens the immune system and cleanses the body from within.

What You Do Afterwards Counts

Once you’ve completed your dry brushing, jump in the shower, says Flavia, and if you can bear it, alternate between cold and hot water to maintain optimal circulation. “Once you’ve dried, use an organic oil – try sweet almond, sesame or coconut oil – combined with an invigorating essential oil blend to stimulate the senses and keep your body glowing.” Kate recommends adding a few drops of her cult Cellu-Lite oil – which contains stimulating and detoxifying grapefruit, rosemary, and green mandarin oils – directly to the bristles of your brush. “This will allow the oil to work deeper into the skin and combines the two treatments effectively.”

Choosing The Right Brush Is Important

Before you jump in, know that what you use matters. “A body brush made with natural bristles is essential,” Kate stresses. “Keep it simple and invest in a natural bristle brush. Our Lymph-Lite Boom Brush, for example, is made with cactus fibres and has a round, palm-sized wooden handle. Steer clear of a body brush that has plastic nodules – you’ll never see a therapist using a brush like this.” It can also help to find an ergonomic brush that sits neatly in your hand for easier brushing and remember to replace your brush frequently. “A brush with natural fibres won’t last forever, as the bristles will naturally degrade, especially if they get wet,” Kate adds. “If your brush has become soft and seems out of shape, it’s time to get a new one. It should last you between six to 12 months.”

Finally, Be Careful If You Have Sensitive Skin 

Dry brushing has countless benefits, but it may not be suitable for everyone. “If you have sensitive skin or a condition such as eczema or psoriasis, speak with your doctor before brushing,” says Flavia. “It also goes without saying that you should avoid dry brushing you have inflamed skin,” she says. “If your skin is prone to sensitivity, it could be worth starting gently to build up tolerance. Start by brushing three times per week using light strokes and monitor your skin for irritation and adverse reactions. Remember it should never feel uncomfortable or painful.”

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